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Historic Fort Hays


category : Forts
Historic Fort Hays Fort Hays was an important US Army post which was active from 1865 until 1889. Troops from Fort Hays protected the stage and freight wagons using the Smoky Hill Trail to Denver, and construction workers who were building the Union Pacific Railroad. The original blockhouse, guardhouse, and officers quarters are located here as well as exhibits interpreting pioneer and military history.

After the fort was virtually destroyed in a flash flood in 1867, it was relocated to a site now just south of the city of Hays. Unlike the typical military posts of the earlier eastern frontier, there was no stockade or fortification wall. Instead, officers quarters, barracks , headquarters, storehouses, and other buildings grouped around a parade ground constituted the outline of the new Fort Hays.

A stone blockhouse, hexagonal in shape with two wings extending north and south, was equipped with rifle slits, but the fort was never attacked, and the building was actually used as a post headquarters and adjutant's quarters for the officer of the guard, a guard room, and a prison room with three cells, except for a small bakery, all other buildings - officer quarters, married enlisted men's quarters, barracks, hospital storehouses, and other housekeeping buildings were of frame construction.

Garrison strength at Fort Hays normally averaged three companies, or about 210 men. Fort Hays was home to the 7th U.S. Cavalry, commanded by Lt. Col. George A. Custer, the 5th U.S. Infantry, commanded by Col. Nelson Miles, and the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalries, better known as the Buffalo Soldier. Marcus A. Reno, George A. Forsyth, and Philip H. Sheridan were also among the noted military figures associated with the fort.

In 1867, Hays City was staked out a mile to the east, and with the arrival of the railroad in October, the fortunes of Hays City and Fort Hays became almost inseparable. The military post was turned into a quartermaster depot which supplied other forts throughout the West and Southwest. Such an operation required a large number of civilian as well as military personnel, and Hays City consequently experienced rapid development.

The Fort Hays Historic Visitors Center was completely remodeled in the summer of 2010 with new displays, interpretive displays and life-size metal figures of people who lived at the fort. Figures of General Custer and Chief Black Kettle in the visitor center help tell the story of the clash of cultures that led to the fort being built. In the guardhouse, visitors can hear songs and stories from the fort's life, try on a uniform, spend time in a jail cell, and learn more about life as an enlisted soldier. In the blockhouse, visitors will learn about the officers of Fort Hays, discover the mysteries of the blockhouse architecture, and explore how the preservation of the fort has taken place.


Admission: Adults $5; Students$1, Members of the Kansas State Historical Society FREE
Group rates are available.
Hours: Open Year Round - 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday
Address: Located on US-183 Alternate, four miles south of I-70.
Phone: 785-625-6812
Our Email: thefort@kshs.org
Our Website:www.kshs.org/places/forthays

Come visit us in Hays, Kansas

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Stone Gallery

Pete "Fritz" Felten, Jr. was born and raised in Hays. Pete was a track star and expert swimmer in high school and spent one year at Fort Hays State College. His interest in art and sculpting began during his time of service in the U.S. Navy between 1952 and 1956

Hays, KS Arts

Historic Downtown Chestnut Street District

The road in downtown Hays City that is now known as Main Street was originally called Chestnut Street in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The word "City" was officially dropped from the name Hays City in 1885 and by 1930

Hays, KS Historic Districts

Sternberg Museum of Natural History

Within the four story domed museum, you will find a recreated day 88 million years ago when the mighty Tyrannosaurus haunted the land and Kansas was covered by an inland sea.

Hays, KS Museums

KS Merci Boxcar Museum & Veterans Memorial Park

Kansas Merci Boxcar Museum & Veterans Memorial Park At the close of World War II the French nation was devastated. Reconstruction was a slow process. Farmlands had been ravished. War-damaged factories had to be rebuilt and retooled before industry could begin the production of civilian goods. By 19

Hays, KS Museums

Farmers Market and Fresh Produce Market

Hays Farmers Market Parking Lot - 27th & Vine Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings June through October Hours: Sat 8-noon, Wed 5-8 pm Admission: Free Local farmers and gardeners sell a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit, farm products and baked goods Fresh Produce Market 2900

Hays, KS Farmers Markets

Things to do Forts near Hays, KS